The Olde Towne Team is vanquished, so I've seen my last Red Sox game until spring training. Although in the end they didn't prevail, they made this season interesting. I look forward to the day the boys are back, and have my heart set on getting tickets for the Patriots Day game in April.
There is, of course, baseball yet to be played. The World Series starts tonight. And just as well that the first game is being played in Houston, not Boston. The weather this week is awful. Rainy and windy. It's likely that at least one game would have been postponed, pushing the schedule even further into November than it already is. (If the Series goes seven games, the final game will be played on November 3rd.)
Anyway, because I enjoy baseball, I'll be keeping at least a casual eye on the World Series, even though the teams playing - the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves - are nowhere near being the post-season teams I would have been happy to see play.
The best news, of course, is that the Yankees aren't playing, having been taken out by the Red Sox in the wildcard game. The second best news is that the Dodgers (other than Mookie Betts) aren't playing, either. While many in the elite sports media were salivating about a New York - LA faceoff, I was part of the 'no, no, a million times no' brigade.
Of the American League teams that made it into the post season, the Houston Astros were, after the Yankees, my least favorite team to be playing in the World Series. If the Red Sox couldn't win the pennant, my second besties were the Chicago White Sox. After that, I would have had no problem rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros? Meh.
On the National League side, my pennant preference was the San Francisco, Giants, then the Milwaukee Brewers, then the St. Louis Cardinals, then the Atlanta Braves, and - absolute last choice - LA. So the fact that the NL pennant winners are the Braves? Another meh.
But you can't really enjoy watching a baseball game if you don't at least marginally care who wins. So at some point before 8:09 p.m. this evening, I need to pick a rooting interest.
With two meh-ers to select from, it ain't easy.
Usually, I'll go with the American League team. Unless it's the Yankees. (I did want them to win in 2001, in the wake of 9/11. But they didn't.) But with Houston, we have a problem.
No, I really don't hold their cheatin' past against them. After all, the Red Sox manager, Alex Cora, was part of that scandal. Plus I'm cynical enough to believe that all teams look for anedge, and sometimes - maybe a lot of the time - what's an innocent look gets their potentially cheatin' hearts cheatin'. And they step over the line and violate some rule or other.
As long as it's not that egregious or obvious - like throwing a game for money - if everyone's doing some sort of, say sign-stealing - and some sorts of sign-stealing are okay, and others aren't - I'm not going to pitch a fit over it. Unless, of course, the sign-stealers are playing the Red Sox.
I'd be okay with their manager, Dusty Baker, winning a ring. Seems like a good enough guy. He's my age, and has been kicking around for a good long time.
The players I'm pretty neutral on. Don't really know. Don't really care.
But, still, there's something about the Astros that me no like.
Maybe it's because they beat the Red Sox and I'm a sore loser. (True that.) Maybe it's their being from Texas, the place that's given us Senator Ted Cruz (and Astros' fan, of course), Louie Gohmert, Dan Crenshaw, and other rotten pols too numerous to mention.
So no reason to root for Houston.
Then there's Atlanta.
On the plus side, they used to be the Boston Braves. And their super-man, Hank Aaron, died this year.
Their manager, Brian Snitker, is a relative youngster - he's only 66 - but he's been part of the Braves organization since 1977. I find it hard to imagine someone spending their entire career with the same company. It kind of makes me hope he wins the big one this year.
(The players I'm pretty neutral on. Don't really know. Don't really care.)
Also, since everything's political, Georgia voted for Biden, and by electing Warnock and Ossoff, they gave the Senate the Democrats' razor thin edge. Plus Georgia has given the world Stacey Abrams.
And they did dispatch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, when everyone in the sporting world had pretty much declared them Destiny's Darlings.
On the other hand, the Braves invited notorious anti-vaxxer country and western singer Travis Tritt to sing the national anthem before the sixth game of the National League playoff. Which seems a really terrible choice.
And then there's the Tomahawk Chop, the fan chant and arm waving tradition that Native Americans have asked them to cease and desist on. (I suspect they wouldn't mind a team name change, either, along the lines of the Cleveland Indians becoming the Cleveland Guardians.)
The bottom line: as with the Astros, no reason to root for Atlanta.
So I decided to flip a coin.
The best thing about flipping a coin to make a decision that seems like a toss-up is that, when the coin's on the way down, if you actually have a preference you weren't aware of, it is revealed to you.
Turns out, I really don't have a preference.
Heads I win. Tails you lose.
Looks like I'm rooting for Houston.
This is subject to change, of course.
If Ted Cruz shows his face, I might switch to Atlanta. If Travis Tritt sings the national anthem, if the Tomahawk Chop goes overboard, I'll switch back.
This is the last of baseball for a good long while. Hope it's a good series.